Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but many owners feel they're fighting a losing battle with the government.
Whether it's rising tax rates or new health insurance mandates, many small businesses feel the deck is stacked against them. And Friday in Hannibal, they took their concerns to a lawmaker they hope can do something about it.
Missouri Congressman Sam Graves is chairman of the House's Small Business Committee.
He held a public forum Friday to get some feedback from business owners, and they hope he's just the person to solve some of the biggest problems they're facing.
In a room full of people at the Bleigh Ready Mix building, Harold Haycraft was eager to voice his concerns about what tax hikes are doing to his business. As owner of Hannibal Machine, Haycraft says tax increases are hurting his bottom line and eating into the paychecks of his seven employees.
"Our employees have certainly complained about their paychecks since January 1 when they had the increase in their taxes," said Haycraft.
Graves, who serves as Chairman of the Small Business committee, spoke on that very issue at the public forum and says business owners like Haycraft, aren't alone.
"The biggest thing by far, taxes they are worried about, obviously, they're also worried about the economy and spending, that's probably the biggest issue that I hear from folks more than anything else is government's spending problem," said Congressman Graves.
Another problem facing small business owners, new healthcare regulations.
"If you're above 50 employees you get hit pretty hard if you're below you don't so a lot of these employers out there are either cutting back to get below 50 or they're just not hiring anymore and it's hampering job creation," said Congressman Graves.
However, Graves says there's still hope for small business owners, but right now, Haycraft doesn't share the Congressman's optimism.
"I think a lot of small businesses are contracting with the expected tax hike and I think it's going to hurt everybody," said Haycraft.
Haycraft says because he can't afford to give his employees a pay raise, he finds other ways to help them out, such as letting them use company property, or anything he can do to lessen the sting.
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